Afghanistan: Taliban, Daesh and Al Qaeda, differences and common goals
The Taliban returned on the international scene with the final takeover of Afghanistan, after a slow but gradual reconquest of the territory going on for twenty years, between clashes with government and Western soldiers, bomb attacks, and the Sharia imposition in the areas under their control. But as in other states in the region, several Islamist organizations, more or less critical, seek to reach their goals through the use of force and attacks, albeit with different methods and rules.
In Afghanistan, in addition to the Koranic students, we must consider the al-Qaeda and the Islamic State role, the latest suspected of being “the director” of the attacks on the Kabul airport. Suppose we talk about Islamist movements in Afghanistan. In that case, we cannot fail to start with the Taliban, the largest and more powerful group both militarily and economically in the territory. And also, the one that, in terms of characteristics, stands out most from the other two. Suppose, like al-Qaeda and Isis, it has as its final goal. In that case, its leaders’ statements the days following the capture of Kabul, the creation of an Islamic Emirate also have many differences compared to the other two movements.
The Taliban was born like many other power groups formed by former mujahideen who fought, supported by the US, the war against the Soviet invasion from 1979 to 1989. A heterogeneous group of fighters ranged from the Alliance of North up to the Taliban via an early al-Qaeda. Part of these militiamen, led by Mullah Omar, joined together to fight the internal power war in the country, won in 1996, when they ruled Afghanistan de facto. Until 2001, when Western intervention, because Osama bin Laden was hiding there under their protection, chased them from the buildings quickly.
And the path taken to reach one’s goals is also different. First of all, among the three main groups mentioned, it is the only one with globalist aspirations, a factor that unites them, for example, with Hamas in Palestine. Second, their plans are limited to the borders of Afghanistan, to the seizure of power in their country. And, especially in recent years, they aim to reach them by respecting some rules that they often want to point out in their press releases: no deliberate attack on the civilian population, their target is and remains the “invasion and government forces.”
Finally, there are also differences in the structure compared to the other two groups: if al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have a monolithic structure, which still looks at the world leaders of the organization, therefore respectively at the line imposed by Ayman al-Zawahiri and by the new Caliph of ‘Isis, the Taliban groups are very fragmented, even though its leaders always try to demonstrate a common and shared line. These are small centers of power, primarily local, which operate under the organization’s banner but which, in some cases, can also escape its control.